Pepe Reina to Napoli: Azzurri Sign Liverpool Keeper

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 24, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30:  Pepe Reina of Liverpool kicks the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on January 30, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Veteran goalkeeper Pepe Reina has agreed to join Napoli from Liverpool, reports Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis. CNN correspondent Tancredi Palmeri confirmed the news and provided a translation of the tweet. 

The move comes one month after Liverpool signed Simon Mignolet to provide serious competition for Reina, the club's longtime starter. It created a logjam at the position and would have forced the Spanish international to battle for playing time.

In fact, Reds manager Brendan Rodgers was looking forward to the elevated level of competition, according to Sky Sports.

I always felt it was important for us to have competition right the way through the squad, and that includes the goalkeepers.

I spoke to Pepe about this a few months back and told him we wanted to bring in another goalkeeper as real competition. I was very open with my goalkeepers and they know the situation.

But after being the unquestioned starter for the past eight seasons, it would have been tough for Reina to accept extended stints on the bench when Mignolet was in good form. At the same time, Liverpool had to consider the financial setbacks of holding both keepers on the roster.

So while Rodgers would have liked to see the two keepers push each other with strong play, it just didn't make sense for Liverpool in the bigger picture.

The other key issue from Reina's perspective is getting consistent first-team action during an important international year leading up to the 2014 World Cup. He needs the playing time as Spain begins to set its roster for next summer's showcase.

It wasn't going to happen at Liverpool. The Reds didn't sign Mignolet to sit on the bench throughout the campaign. So making the move should allow the Spanish star to get the necessary playing time to keep him among the national team's top options.

Reina went through some spells of poor form last season, as well. So it's even more important for him to hold down a starting job and show he's still capable of elite goalkeeping.

All told, there were a lot of different factors in play. From Liverpool's financial options to the Mignolet signing and Reina's need for first-team football on a regular basis. When you put it all together, a move was the best option for all sides. 

The Reds still have some transfer questions to answer before the window closes, including the most high-profile one featuring Luis Suarez, but getting the goalkeeping situation settled is a step in the right direction.

Liverpool will turn to Mignolet as their starter and Reina should get the opportunity to avoid a weekly competition for the starting spot.